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Freedom Communications smoothes surround audio listening with Linear Acoustic

Independent station owner Freedom Communications has installed DTV audio processing technology from Linear Acoustic across its eight stations to ensure consistent 5.1-channel audio as well as significantly streamline production workflows. The stations — five CBS and three ABC network affiliates — reach more than 3.5 million households across the country.

Fred Lass, director of engineering at Freedom Broadcasting of NY, said the stations are upmixing from stereo audio to 5.1 without switching any AC-3 metadata, matching levels with network feeds. This has saved them money by eliminating the need for metadata decoders and other hardware. To support DTV broadcasting, the Linear Acoustic audio solutions selected by Freedom Communications automatically reformats all stereo programming to 5.1 channels.

In addition to New York State’s Capital Region duopoly of WRGB and WCWN, located in Schenectady, NY, Linear Acoustic has delivered its AEROMAX 5.1, AERO.air (5.1) and processors to Freedom’s Broadcast Television Division stations in Kalamazoo (WWMT) and Lansing, MI (WLAJ); West Palm Beach, FL (WPEC); Chattanooga, TN (WTVC); Beaumont, TX (KFDM); and Medford, OR (KTVL). KFDM also received an L.A.M.B.D.A. professional digital audio and metadata monitor.

The Linear Acoustic upMAX algorithm can be operated in automatic mode or enabled manually to generate 5.1 audio from stereo programming, whereby full 5.1-channel surround sound content is automatically passed through by the Linear Acoustic AutoMAX-II auto-detection algorithm. The result is that the viewer’s receiver does not switch back and forth between stereo and 5.1. The benefit to the listener is that it avoids the brief muting that many receivers do at the transition between stereo and surround.

Linear Acoustic processors also maintain consistent loudness from program to program, between network and local contributions, and across the boundaries of commercial insertions. Available processing includes ITU BS.1770 compliant loudness control plus selectable multiband, multistage dynamic range control.